Toyota is the most reliable carmaker. Honda is the greenest. Domestic brands are not dependable. Ford/Chevy/Dodge builds the best truck. Cadillac’s/Buick’s are for old people. Mercedes-Benz is the most luxurious brand. Ferrari builds the fastest/most exotic cars.
Whether or not you are a car person, you’ve probably heard one, or many, of these stereotypes. It’s possible, too, that your views reflect similarly to the 40-percent JD Power and Associates surveyed in the 2012 Avoider Survey, which examines the reasons consumers fail to consider—or avoid—particular models when shopping for a new vehicle.
According to the study, 43-percent of new-car buyers in May 2011 avoided certain brands due to “the brand’s vehicles, in general, are known to have poor quality/reliability.” It’s hard to ignore the sentiment when many consumers are raised in a fashion that strongly skews social perceptions toward one distinct flavor. Like being born into a particular religion, you are more likely, as an adult, to emotionally favor views similar to the ones you are familiar with.
The study backs up a lack of critical thinking and evaluation, too. Of the respondents, only 38 percent based their avoidance decision on ratings and reviews. Flip this around, and you see that 62 percent of those polled, for any number of reasons, avoided a certain brand without any research or critical evaluation whatsoever. Once a Ford man, always a Ford man, right?
“The fact that so many new-vehicle buyers may be basing their opinions about quality and reliability on pre-conceived notions, rather than concrete information or data, demonstrates how important it is for automakers to promote the quality and reliability of their models,” said Jon Osborn, research director at J.D. Power and Associates. “For some brands, namely those that have created marked improvements in their quality and reliability in recent years, it’s even more vital to tell their improvement story, rather than just waiting for perceptions to change over time.”
Automotive.com’s take: What was true may not now be true. But also, cars are like sports teams–we all have a favorite. But unlike sports, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate why it is we have favorites?
Source: J.D. Power and Associates